Is there a dishwashing powder available that will not etch glassware?
Becky from Lexington, OH
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The problem is not the detergent; etching is from hard water. You could look for a dishwasher detergent that has a water softening or conditioning agent in it. I don't know if you can use something like Calgon, which is a softener, in the dishwasher; you might look into that.
I just had my dishwasher repaired 12/08 and the repair man told me to only use Cascade Complete....no lemon and powder only. My dishes look the best they ever have. I used to use generic all the time swearing that it didn't matter. Wrong-o! It has made the world of difference for me.
I use a variety of dishwashing detergents, mostly Calgon because it seems to work well in the water that I have, which is softened. I wonder if it is a water problem rather than a detergent problem. I also have a couple of old glasses that look etched, but every other glass is fine.
I have soft water and still get etching, so it's not the water! But thanks for asking the question because now I'll try the Cascade too!
I have used Cascade Complete for almost a year now. Used regular Cascade before that.
Believe me it won't stop the etching. I even bought new glasses after I switched and now they are etched too.
The etching isn't from hard water , it's from the dish washing detergent. That stuff is very caustic. The only one that won't etch glass is Cascade.
I've used cascade only for years, have soft water, and my plain glassware still etches. I guess the only thing to do is by new glasses and hand wash them. Why can't they make a detergent that won't ruin glassware?
Sam's Club Inferior Products
When I moved to Idaho Falls, ID seven years ago I started shopping at the Sam's Club nearby because they do have some lower prices on some of the items they sell, but not all. One of the things I started buying and using for the past seven years was their Members Mark dish washing powder, #244536A. I wrongfully assumed, if Sam's Club was selling it, it had to be good and was probably made by Cascade the #1 selling dishwashing powder for them under their own label.
Over the years I noticed that there was what I thought was staining on the glass ware that I tended to use the most. Over a period of time it all became worse. I had throw away some of the dishes as they looked to terrible to serve wine or beer in or any other beverage. Even some expensive glass luncheon plates and glasses by Noritake were damaged beyond use.
I really became upset that so many things were ending up with this grey look on them; I decided to find a solution. This last February or March, I went to a restaurant supply firm to find out what was happening to my glassware. I was hoping to find out how I could remove what I thought were stains. I had tried using CLR and other products to remove the dull finish on my glassware, but nothing seemed to work.
When I showed the business owner, Wayne, the Tequila glass, he said, "that isn't a stain, you're glasses have been etched by the dishwashing powder you're using". He explained that some of the powders out there are very caustic and will actually etch glass, destroying their clean look. I was amazed, that something I thought was cleaning and protecting my glassware was actually destroying them.
When I took an inventory if what was damaged and what I had already thrown away, I was surprised. I went to Replacements, Inc. on the internet to find out the value of what was damaged or destroyed and was amazed. I had a loss of just over $600.00. I took photos of many of the items that I still had and went to Sam's Club and met with the manager. We printed to sets of prints, they kept one and I kept the other.
Well, after a few months I have gotten nothing except the run-a-round from Sam's Club, Huish Chemical and their two insurance companies. Their main reason for not paying the claim I presented them was that since I had known for so long, that since 2002, that I had a problem, that I should have stopped using their product. I advised them that I didn't know what was happening until this year. This damage doesn't happen after one or two washings, it takes months or even years for the problems to appear. It's a slow and insidious thing that you don't know what is happening until it is too late.
What is really interesting is the information and labeling on the packaging on the Members Mark dishwashing powder. It is a lie and misleading, plain and simple. They don't tell you that the product will etch your glassware nor do they tell you that it won't. There is no warning on their label that their product will destroy your glassware over time. They actually make the claim that their product is as good as or better than the leading product, which is Cascade, but it is not.
Their label reads as follows: Members Mark OUR PROMISE offering premium quality products at an exceptional value is our ongoing commitment to you. Independent testing guarantees that this and every Members Mark product meets or exceeds the quality and performance levels of the leading national brand. Your satisfaction is guaranteed every time you use this product.
Cascade has ShineShield, a buffering agent that prevents the etching of glass, Members Mark does not. The above statements by Members mark are a lie and misleading. Cascade is the nation's leading dishwashing powder, and Members Mark product does not even come close to having the protection that Cascade offers.
I have soft water...I use only Cascade..all glass is etched.
I would like someone with soft water to respond with an alternative to Cascade...an alternative that doesn't etch.
It seems like there are so many varying opinions on what causes the etching ranging from bartenders to University Extensions.
I think it is a number of factors that cause the etching but I disagree with those who said water isn't part of the problem. I live in an area with a lot of minerals in the water and it builds up not only in the dishwasher and on my glassware but in the sinks and tubs. I have a glass shower surround that has some etching - even though I squeegee it after every shower.
That's why I use inexpensive glassware for day to day use and only use my "nice" glassware on special occasions (which I hand wash). I just replaced my drinking glasses due to etching - they looked like they were dirty and it was very unappealing.
You all are wrong. We have tried cascade and have a box under the sink now. We have tried vinegar and different products and I just took some glassless out of the dishwasher and promptly threw some away. It seems that no one really knows why this is happening. We live in Tucson and at first I thought it was the Colorado river water
that is mixed with our ground water, but after reading so many posts it seems it is everywhere.
I live in Tucson as well, I've tried everything. A new water softener, less soap, more soap, different soaps, powder, liquid soaps, higher heat settings. Nothing works, I guess it's time for new glassware.
I live on well water that is softened by an industrial unit. I have only used Cascade Complete powder and my glasses are still etched. I now go to the dollar store approx. every 6-7 months for new glasses. My family members water is from Lake Michigan and there is no need for a softener although their water is harder then mine. They also use Cascade Complete and have no problem with etching at all. I personally think it has something to do with softened water.
I have been in the cleaning buissness for 30 years , and each time my clients had the problem of their drinking glasses being etched - like the finish had come off the glasses leaving a white dull finish. I noticed they were all using Cascade.
I myself bought some new soap for my dishwasher and it was Finish Quantam Power Balls. So I tested it out and I could not believe how sparkling clean everything was, the cutlery even looked brand new.
So now my clients all use it, and cannot believe how clean it is and after throwing the old glasses out. The new was are great, and it has been about 8 months and still no ecthing so it must be something in Cascade itself that was doing it.
Well, just wait. Finish Powerball Tabs will also etch your glasses, remove the markings on measuring cups, the designs on drinking glasses and coffee cups down to the original glaze and the coating on wooden handles of cutlery. Only Corelle dishes seem to be impervious (so far).
And they also have the same rinse agent, I use to put vinegar in, which also worked great.
Cascade and Finish will not etch your glassware; but if you used some cheap dish washing powder (Like Sam's Club Brand in green packaging that looks like Cascade) for some time and then switched to either of the two above named products, they can end up etching. Once the glass ware has been etched by a cheap powder, the good brands can etch the glass ware, but they will never start it. See my photo at bottom of this article, the green plate. Soft water has nothing to do with it, as I've had soft water for 15 years and the damage I experienced only happened with Sam's Club garbage dish washing powder. By the way, when I used Finish for the first time I noticed an extra shine on everything as well, especially on the stainless flatware. Good stuff.
The only two I would recommend are Cascade or Finish. See note below. Also, you may have softened water, but if you air dry your glass ware or leave water in your glass evaporate out, the water can still leave a stain, which can be removed with something like CLEAR and sometimes very fine steel wool, like XXXX. It won't hurt the glass.
People are talking about two different problems, and they aren't sure which problem they are really experiencing. Water, itself won't etch normally. It will stain which can be removed with something like CLR and XXXX steel wool. If your water is etching glass, I sure wouldn't drink it. Think of what it's doing to your body! Only the caustic dish washing powders without buffers will etch glass. That stuff can kill you. Run some some tests to see what's causing the problem your experiencing and stop rhrowing away good glass ware.
Water softness varies greatly. The pH of Dishwashing powders are blended to work somewhere in the middle range of water softness/hardness. If your water is extra hard, then you will get scaling (calcium build up which can be reversed) because your powder/tablets are not acidic enough for your water. If your water is extra soft, then you will get etching (not reversible) because the powder/tablets are too acidic for your water. If you pre rinse your dishes then there is less work for the powder to do and therefore the water will be more acidic. If you don't pre rinse, then more of the powder will be "neutralised" attacking the grime resulting in less acidic water.
So, if you pre rinse, you'll need less powder than if you don't pre rinse (tablets may need to be cut). If your water is extra soft, you will need a less acidic powder. If your water is extra hard, you will need a more acidic powder. The solution would be for manufacturers to make a soft water powder and a hard water powder, but I don't know if any do. Another solution would be to blend your own with more, or less, citric acid.
In conclusion, the fault does not lie solely with the powder or the water but with the resultant combination of the two.
From what I've read, my problem is three-fold. Water softener, water temperature (mine is near 150 and should be between 120-140), and amount of detergent. I had thought I had a film. Unfortunately, the glasses are etched. We will now reduce the water temperature and I will buy a powdered detergent so that I can use less than what is in these pods. And, I will replace the glasses AGAIN. We are also no buying our wine glasses at the dollar store so no huge loss.
From what I've read, my problem is three-fold. Water softener, water temp too high (~150F), and too much detergent (using those pods). Will reduce temp in water heater, switch to a powdered detergent, and head back to Dollar Tree to get more wine glasses. Fingers crossed.
I live in Florida and have well water. I've tried different detergents, had a water softener, it quit, then had hard water. Didn't matter. Soft water, hard water, powder, liquid detergent - it all etched my glassware.
I am now trying 1 T. salt, 1 T. baking soda and about 2 T. Dawn dish soap. I also add 1 c. white vinegar before I start the dishwasher. Dishes seem to come out really clean. I can only hope it's working on the etchinghard water stains. Of course if glasses are etched already, nothing will take that off.
We have etched glasses. First with Cascade. Then with new glasses and Finish. Our water company says it is caused by disolved silica (sand) in the water. Water softener cannot removed disolved siica.
Only reverse osmosis can do this which is not practical for whole house use.
There is a great deal of misinformation about glass etching in this thread.
Hard water does not etch glass, the sodium hydroxide (lye) in the dishwasher detergent does. Dishwasher detergents are NOT acids as claimed by some of the posts, they are are all strongly alkaline, basic as opposed to acidic, PH above 7.0. Sodium hydroxide slowly reacts with glass to form water soluble sodium silicate. Etching is the dissolving of the glass surface by the caustic action of the lye.
Run a Google search for "sodium hydroxide etch glass" to verify for yourself the chemistry behind this claim.
The more dishwasher detergent, relative to the "dirtiness" of the load, added to a wash cycle the worse the etching. Hotter water increases the etching effect. With the exception of especially large, heavily soiled loads of dishware, it is almost never necessary to fill the dishwasher's pre-wash and wash detergent trays full of detergent.
Packets/pods are the absolute worst for etching because they deliver the same chemical content as heaping full detergent trays even for the smallest loads.
The ideal is to add no more detergent than is necessary to react with the grease and other organic matter clinging to the soiled dishes and silverware. Try a domed tablespoon-full to start. Areas with hard water would be wise to add Calgon Water Softener powder; add about 1/8th to 1/4 cup of Calgon to the bottom of the dishwasher. Do NOT mix the Calgon powder with the detergent powder in the detergent trays!
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